Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned the Palestinians that if kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit is hurt because of the recent operation in Gaza, they will pay heavily.
“The Palestinians understand that Gilad Shalit is a strategic asset as long as he is alive and well, and they know that the moment he will not be alive, they will pay a heavy price and we will not sit quietly,” Olmert said.
Olmert added that Israel will not limit itself in any actions designed to stop terror activities against Israeli citizens. The less we proclaim about Shalit, the better we are off.”
During the cabinet meeting newly appointed Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman said that there is a need to warn the Palestinians that if anything happens to Shalit, Israel will add Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar to the list of martyrs.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that there is a distinction between Gilad Shalit which we know is alive, and the everyday fight against terror. “These operations are being conducted out of operational need and we will not give up the security of the citizens of Israel. We will continue to act and we will not accept any connection of the Gilad Shalit issue to this situation. We will continue to say less about his release. We have acted against the installations of the terror leaders in Gaza and we will continue as long as it is necessary,” Peretz said.
In reaction to these words, the Popular Resistance Committees, who are suspected of holding Shalit, have said that at this point they will not harm him, but warn that the continuous IDF bombing of homes and fields where he might be located, could put him in danger.